As we have seen in this month’s posts, Mennonites are being taught a silent prayer practice that involves finding a quiet place to sit comfortably, choose a meaningful word/phrase that helps them focus on God, and be absolutely still and quiet while letting thoughts go and mentally reciting their word/phrase for 20 minutes.
This month, Menno-lite has been shining a light on such contemplative practices endorsed by the Mennonites. This article by Ray Yungen flows along the same lines…
The Cloud of Unknowing – “Take a little word, and repeat it.”
The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an anonymous monk, has passed under the radar of many church libraries, Christian bookstores, and theological seminaries and colleges. But this book is a primer on mystical contemplative spirituality. Check your church library and see if this book is sitting on the shelves.
by Ray Yungen
To my dismay, I discovered ‘mystical silence’ is accomplished by the same methods used by New Agers to achieve their silence–the mantra and the breath! Contemplative prayer is the repetition of what is referred to as a prayer word or sacred word until one reaches a state where the soul, rather than the mind, contemplates God. Contemplative prayer teacher and Zen master Willigis Jager brought this out when he postulated:
Do not reflect on the meaning of the word; thinking and reflecting must cease, as all mystical writers insist. Simply”sound” the word silently, letting go of all feelings and thoughts.( Jager, Contemplation, p. 31)
Read more of this enlightening excerpt from A Time of Departing, here:
UPDATE: In light of this, also see: